1. 24

GitHub page for the project https://github.com/nesbox/TIC-80

  1. 16

    This is, in some way, the converse of retrocomputing: Instead of trying to emulate a historical system, and getting an interesting aesthetic as a result of software which acts in an authentically retro fashion, create the aesthetic you want first, and then implement it in a modern way, unconcerned with past designs.

    Because those past designs were just inconvenient. The 2600 definitely crosses a few lines in terms of what most programmers will put up with just to make a pixel art shooter, let alone anything especially complicated, and even more recent systems like the IBM PC saddled you with odd restrictions in terms of color palette, not to mention the bizarre memory model and memory layout of the authentic system. Speaking as someone who loves retrocomputing, there are reasons we upgraded from those past systems.

    But even just in terms of the end result, this is an improvement on, or at least a significant difference from, any “pixel-era” computer or game console. It has a large, rich display, four-channel sound, and, of course, perfect pixels. It isn’t dealing with the oddities of blasting graphics to an RF modulator so an NTSC or PAL or SECAM TV could display them, it just shows the perfect little colored squares on your high-resolution flat-screen monitor. That’s what people expect now, and it’s part of the modern retro aesthetic, but if you do it on a retrocomputing emulator, it is a disservice to older games, which rely on the imperfections, the color bleeding, and the general fuzziness of old CRTs to smooth over their graphics.

    Here’s an interesting blog post on the subject from Jason Scott, “What a Wonder is a Terrible Monitor”: http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/3786

    And this post, about bringing CRT emulation to the Internet Archive: http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/5021

    The point is, this TIC-80 is a fantasy computer, a modern take on a simplified version of a game system, and so it reflects modern views of the style it’s going for. Retrocomputing, as a form of historical preservation, is about actual computers, and ought to preserve the look and feel of past systems.

    1. 15

      Reminds me of the Pico-8 and the Pocket CHIP.

      1. 1

        I immediately went to the PICO-8 system when I saw this. PICO-8 has been around for a hot minute, now.

      2. 6

        Another similar “fantasy computer” is LIKO-12: https://github.com/RamiLego4Game/LIKO-12. Both were inspired by PICO-8, as far as I know.

        1. 4

          And programmable in Lua and soon Javascript! My interest is totally piqued! I love the integrated console and code editor. This kind of super interactive environment really pushes my buttons. It’s part of what I miss in a lot of modern computing.

          Remember back in the bad old days when sitting around running random PEEK and POKE statements just to see what they’d do was FUN? :)

          1. 1

            Build instructions don’t work for me on Ubuntu :/

            1. 1

              What error are you getting?

              1. 2

                Indeed that wasn’t the most useful comment. I filed an issue at https://github.com/nesbox/TIC-80/issues/450

                1. 1

                  Did the author’s response fix your issue?

                  1. 2

                    yep! All my fault :) typed “make” instead of “make linux”.